The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has expressed dissatisfaction with the mid-year budget review presented at Parliament on Monday, by Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta.
GUTA said the budget failed to capture policies needed to flush out foreign illegal traders in the retail industry, one of the key challenges facing domestic traders.
The Association wants Government to demonstrate strong political will to clamp down on illegal traders as being done for Galamsey.
The Public Relations Officer of GUTA and Chairman of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Association, Joseph Paddy, revealed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.
He said the illegal traders, especially the foreigners, did not comply with trade laws and were causing a mess in the retail industry “just like what Galamseyers are doing to our lands and water bodies.”
Most of these foreigners, he noted, acted under the mask of the ECOWAS and other international protocols on the free movement of goods and people, which was wrong, as they “fail to obey trade laws governing our state”.
Mr Paddy said though the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 108, barred foreigners from engaging in the retail business, there were influx of tycoon businessmen who had taken over various market centres across the country.
“Some even hawk on our major streets while others pack their goods on trucks and sell them freely at our various market centres. Something that cannot be done in other countries,” he complained.
The PRO added that some perpetrators of Galamsey who were chased out of the mining sites had also joined the retail community and were trading in all kinds of products without any permit and authorisation.
“Most of these people have not registered with GIPC. They just trade anyhow, which is worrying.
“I remember the Ministry of Trade, GUTA and the GIPC formed a task force to combat this impunity, but it was just a nine-day wonder. We haven’t seen many changes,” he said.
He noted that aside from the prevailing challenge that they competed with local retailers, the illegal traders flouted tax laws which was detrimental to the economic growth of the state.
Mr Paddy added that any country that had more foreigners in its retail space would have their economy die in shambles when the foreigners leave.
While commending Government for investing hugely in entrepreneurship and private business sector development, Mr Paddy urged the Government to support indigenous retailers for a better economy.
He also expressed worry that though the Dollar had been stabilised for some time now, it was difficult for business owners to make projections as it was not predictable as to whether it would outstrip the cedi a step or more ranges in the next days.
Mr Paddy urged Government to tighten measures to ensure that the Dollar was stabilised and also help slash down import duties to make the business sector more viable for economic development.